The hummingbird is perhaps one of the better well-known specie of birds around, due to story books and cartoons that exposes us to them at a young age. I do not know about you, but I had always had the impression that the hummingbird was this little bird, possibly the size of the average sparrow that could flap their wings really really fast.
Do YOU actually know how big the hummingbird is?
An average hummingbird can weigh anywhere between 2 to 20grams – a penny weighs 2.5grams, making some of the smaller-sized birds easily lighter than a penny! The average length of a hummingbird is about 8.5cm if one measures from the tip of the beak to the tip of the tail. The small physique of the hummingbird makes it a possible prey for many animals and even the Praying Mantis!
The hummingbird may be small but it has an extremely high metabolism rate, one of the highest amongst animals. It’s little heart beats up to 1,260 times/minute and it’s wings flap about 70 times/second, which explains the high energy consumption. This means that migration is a rather interesting matter to look at as the small hummingbird actually makes a non-stop journey from one point to another. To prepare for the journey, the hummingbird will store up energy so much so that they can double their weight pre-migration.
“Hummingbirds Facts”, World of Hummingbirds. URL: http://www.worldofhummingbirds.com/facts.php (accessed 6 April 2010)
Oliver P. Pearson, 1950. The Metabolism of Hummingbirds, The Condor, Vol. 52, No. 4 (Jul. – Aug., 1950), pp. 145-152.